Forensics Team Competes at Virtual Tournaments

Students from Truman’s debate team attended virtual tournaments at Western Kentucky University and Washburn University and earned new qualifications to nationals.

At Washburn, freshman Aiden Breesawitz and sophomore Eli Bartz finished with positive records. Breesawitz finished as a quarterfinalist and earned his NFA qualification.

At Western Kentucky, juniors Alicia Stout and Elijah Baum were invited to the Alexis Elliott Memorial Round Robin, an exclusive competition where only 10 debaters in the nation were able to participate. Stout finished as third place speaker. Breesawitz and Baum were also invited to the Rising Stars Round Robin, which is intended for debaters going into their second year of debate. Truman continued its success at the WKU Debate the following days. Stout was a quarterfinalist and sixth speaker. Baum finished as 10th place speaker.

Students interested in learning more about the Forensics Union at Truman can contact Ben Davis, director of forensics, at
Two students at Western Kentucky
Four students at Washburn Warmup

Truman Wins Two National Championships, Other Honors at PKD Nats!

Six students from Truman’s Forensics Union competed at the Pi Kappa Delta Biennial National Tournament & Convention in Orlando, Florida. This tournament hosted 69 schools across the nation with more than 1,000 entries. Top superior awards were given to the top three competitors. Superior awards were given to the top 10% in a field, and excellence awards were awarded to the next top 20%. In addition, three of the team members were selected to showcase their events in front of the convention.

Individual placements are as follows:

  • Senior Jackson Elder placed third in persuasion where he was awarded top superior. He earned superior distinction in extemporaneous speaking and was selected to perform in the limited prep showcase. Elder acquired excellence in impromptu speaking, broadcast journalism and interviewing.
  • Senior Kayla Gerlt was awarded excellence in after dinner speaking, duo interpretation, extemporaneous speaking and prose.
  • Sophomore Jillian Humke was awarded superior in after dinner speaking and was selected to perform in the after dinner speaking/communication analysis showcase.
  • Sophomore Ella Schnake was the national champion in interviewing and impromptu speaking. She was selected to perform her impromptu in the showcase of champions. Schnake was awarded superior in dramatic interpretation and prose, and excellence in program oral interpretation and duo interpretation.
  • Sophomore Alicia Stout was a quarterfinalist in Lincoln-Douglas Debate and IPDA Debate

Team placements are as follows:

  • Individual Sweepstakes – Excellence (8th out of 61 schools)
  • Debate Sweepstakes – Good (24th out of 63 schools)
  • Overall Sweepstakes – Good (24th place out of 69 schools)

Forensics Wins Awards At Virtual State Championship

The Truman forensics team completed virtually at the MAFA State Championship Tournament hosted by Park University.

Thirteen students competed earning a combined total of 19 state championships. The team also earned first in overall debate sweepstakes, overall speech sweepstakes and overall tournament sweepstakes. At this tournament, students who entered into at least five speech categories across two or more speech genres – public address, interpretation and limited preparation – were entered into a special pentathlon sweepstakes. Students who competed in at least one debate event and had eligibility in pentathlon sweepstakes were also entered into overall forensicator sweepstakes.

Placements are as follows:

Open Lincoln-Douglas Debate:

  • Senior Macy Cecil was awarded as fourth place speaker.
  • Sophomore Alicia Stout was the state champion and the state speaker champion.
  • Sophomore Elijah Baum was a semifinalist and awarded third place speaker.

Novice Lincoln-Douglas:

  • Freshman Megan Trent was the state champion and awarded second place speaker.

Open NPDA Parliamentary Debate:

  • Senior Kayla Gerlt was the state speaker champion.
  • Senior Jackson Elder was awarded second place.
  • Sophomore Ella Schnake was awarded fourth place speaker.

Novice NPDA Parliamentary Debate:

  • Freshmen Megan Trent and Caroline Spiller were the state champions. Trent was also awarded second place speaker.
  • Freshman Emma Rohrbach was the state speaker champion.
  • Freshman Eli Bartz was awarded sixth place speaker.


  • Elder was the state champion in extemporaneous and impromptu speaking. He also earned third place in after dinner speaking and original oratory.
  • Gerlt was the state champion in duo interpretation. She placed second in dramatic interpretation and after dinner speaking, third in prose and informative speaking and fourth in extemporaneous speaking. She was awarded the top overall forensicator and placed second in pentathlon sweepstakes.
  • Junior Maya Krump was the state champion in original oratory, qualifying her for the interstate oratorical national tournament in April. She was also state champion in informative speaking.
  • Schnake was the state champion in dramatic interpretation, prose, duo interpretation and program oral interpretation. She placed fourth in impromptu speaking. In addition, she was awarded state champion in pentathlon sweepstakes and placed second for the overall forensicator award.
  • Sophomore Megan Ford placed fourth in informative speaking and persuasion.
  • Sophomore Jillian Humke placed fifth in prose and dramatic interpretation.

Any students interested in joining the Forensics Union should contact Craig Hennigan at or Ben Davis at

Forensics Earns Top Honors at Recent Tournament

Students from Truman’s Forensics Union competed at the Gateway Swing IE tournament at Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri, Dec. 4-5.

Team members excelled in their respective events leading to a team victory on both days of the swing tournament, which led to an overall swing team victory. At this tournament, students who entered into at least four speech categories across all three speech genres were entered into a special quadrathon sweepstakes.

Placements on day one of the swing were as follows:

  • Freshman Hannah Spainhour received top novice in prose interpretation
  • Sophomores Jillian Humke and Larissa Wratney earned first place in duo interpretation
  • Wratney also earned second place in dramatic interpretation
  • Sophomore Ella Schnake placed third in dramatic interpretation, second in impromptu speaking and first in prose
  • Sophomore Megan Ford placed sixth in prose, fourth in informative speaking and third in persuasion
  • Junior Maya Krump earned third place in informative speaking, second place in persuasion and third place in quadrathon sweepstakes
  • Senior Kayla Gerlt earned fourth in extemporaneous speaking and dramatic interpretation, third in after dinner speaking and prose, second in informative speaking and was tournament champion in quadrathon sweepstakes
  • The team also received first place overall

Placements on day two of the swing were as follows:

  • Humke and Wratney placed first in duo
  • Wratney also earned first place in dramatic interpretation
  • Ford placed fourth in info and third in persuasion
  • Schnake placed second in prose and dramatic interpretation and first in impromptu
  • Krump received fifth place in prose, second place in persuasion and info and second in quadrathon
  • Gerlt placed fourth in after dinner speaking and dramatic interpretation, third in prose and extemporaneous, first in info and tournament champion in quadrathon sweepstakes
  • The team again earned first place overall
Any students interested in joining the Forensics Union should contact Craig Hennigan at or Ben Davis at

Forensics Earns Multiple Awards At Tournaments

Students from Truman’s Forensics Union earned awards at two tournaments last week.

Debaters competed at Illinois State University at the Fall Red Bird. Freshman novice Megan Trent achieved second speaker, as well as tournament finalist, in Lincoln-Douglas Debate, earning a qualification to the national tournament in April. Sophomore Alicia Stout also got to the quarterfinals in Lincoln-Douglas Debate in the open division.

Speech competitors traveled to Peoria, Illinois, to the Norton Tournament at Bradley University. Senior Jackson Elder made it to the semifinals in impromptu speaking and achieved fourth place in extemporaneous speaking. Senior Kayla Gerlt came in fifth place in dramatic interpretation. Sophomore Ella Schnake made it to the semifinals in impromptu speaking, as well as prose interpretation and was the tournament champion in dramatic interpretation.

As a school, Truman earned enough sweepstakes points to outscore teams from Purdue University, Ohio University and Illinois State. In December, the team will travel to Webster University for the Gateway Swing and debate will compete virtually at University of Nebraska-Lincoln for the Fall Finale debate tournament.

Any students interested in joining the Forensics Union should contact Craig Hennigan at or Ben Davis at